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PIPCU makes arrest in anti-proxy campaign

By | Published on Friday 8 August 2014

City Of London Police

The City Of London Police’s IP crime unit, or PIPCU, seemingly has web-block circumventing proxies on its agenda, with the BBC reporting that a number of such proxies have gone offline in the UK this week, and that one man has reportedly been arrested in connection with running a proxy server.

As much previously reported, securing web-block injunctions that force ISPs to block users from accessing copyright infringing websites has become a favourite tool in the music industry’s battle against online piracy.

But the effectiveness of the blockades is hindered rather by the proxies that people set up, that allow users with even limited web-knowledge to get around the blocks and still access infringing sites.

The fact such proxies routinely score high in Google search results is one problem, and the industry is lobbying hard to have the web giant remove such listings. But some legal action has also been taken directly against those operating proxy servers.

Though the exact legalities of operating such a service are somewhat ambiguous, especially if the operators are not profiting in anyway. So if PIPCU has made an arrest in this domain, it will be interesting to see if any charges are pressed, and if so what form they take.

The BBC quotes Kieron Sharp of the Federation Against Copyright Theft, which is supporting PIPCU in the proxy attack, as saying: “Internet users have sought ways to continue to access the sites by getting round the blocking put in place by the ISPs. This operation is a major step in tackling those providing such services”.